Oakland Resident Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Scheme
OAKLAND, Calif. – Jonathan Davis pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.
According to the plea agreement, Davis devised a scheme to obtain money by preparing and filing false federal income tax returns in the names of other people. To carry out this scheme, Davis had friends obtain names, birthdates, and social security numbers of people who did not authorize use that information on the filed tax returns. Davis opened bank accounts in the names of these victims and linked those accounts to debit cards for the purpose of receiving the fraudulent tax refunds. Davis directed the banks to mail the debit cards to himself or his friends and paid his friends up to $200 for addresses that he could use for bank accounts, debit cards, and tax returns.
During 2011 and 2012, Davis caused 111 materially false federal income tax returns to be electronically filed. On those 111 returns, Davis falsely claimed refunds of $484,546, and successfully obtained $178,426 from the IRS.
Davis, 32, of Oakland, was indicted on August 22, 2013. He was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud and 11 counts of aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Davis’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24, 2014, before the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge, in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C § 1343, is 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Moore is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS, Criminal Investigation.